Freshly Baked Cookies Are So Yesterday -- Instead Try These 5 Wacky Tricks to Sell Your Home


cocktail-party  (Violeta Chalakova -

A plastic box stuffed with brochures at the curb, a Sunday afternoon open house, and chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. If your marketing plan to sell your house feels a little "been there, done that," you might need to step up your game.

To help you, we searched high and low, asked the pros, and came up with a list of unusual, bold, and even downright wacky marketing tricks you (and your Realtor) can use to get your house sold.

Start with social media

Everything is on the Internet these days, including, of course, your house. Your Realtor has likely already hooked you up with an online listing, but it doesn't have to stop there. Put into action a full social media plan to attract buyers.

  • Twitter: Who says you can't sell a house in 140 characters? Some sellers are creating Twitter accounts for their houses. Be creative! You can do a lot with 140 characters, trust us.
  • Facebook: Use personal stories about your favorite home memories and photos to connect with buyers. Maybe create a meme or two.
  • Instagram: Attract buyers with artsy home photos or advertise your upcoming open house.

Turn your open house into a party

Open houses can be boring. Why not liven things up with an actual party?

"We throw events -- not open houses -- at a lot of our listings," says Josh Myler, director of the Residential Division at The Agency in Beverly Hills, CA. "We do everything from a simple cocktail party to a bigger affair. We've even hired professional chefs."

To pull it off -- and keep things cheap -- Myler recommends looking for event planners, caterers, and other pros who are just getting started. Many newer companies will work inexpensively to get the exposure.

Set the tone with music

If a party sounds like too much work, you can still spice up your open house with live music. Myler often hires professional musicians to play softly in the background during an event or open house.

"It depends on what you're looking for," he says. "We've hired DJs, but we've also hired violinists."

To keep things affordable, ask family and friends for suggestions. Many amateurs are as good as the pros and a lot cheaper.

Make a game of it

To keep potential buyers hanging around longer, it helps to get them invested in the experience.

Try adding a game or a raffle event to your open house, suggests Seattle real estate broker Jana Schmidt.

"Have a contest for the biggest 'loser' renter," she says. "Have buyers enter the amount of rent they have paid over the years into a drawing for a gift card."

Spread the news with swag

Myler is a big fan of swag (who isn't?), and The Agency uses a lot of free merchandise to promote itself.

"We offer tote bags, T-shirts, baseball caps, mugs," he says. "Basically anything you can think of, we give out."

You can pull off the same thing to promote your house. While people probably won't be wearing baseball caps sporting a picture of your house, smaller (and blissfully more affordable) items will get used. For example, many companies are happy to make magnets, pens, mouse pads, and notepads in smaller quantities.

And potential buyers will snag them. After all, stuff we all get is the best.